Fantastic four

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 January, 2012, 12:00am


The British Fashion Council has announced its four 2012 Fashion Forward winners. Henry Holland, Mary Katrantzou, Louise Gray and James Long are the recipients of this year's sponsorship, including help developing their business and shows at London Fashion Week.

Mary Katrantzou

It comes as little surprise to many that Katrantzou's name is on the list - the Greek rising star is one of the biggest media and commercial successes on the British circuit. When she came to Hong Kong in November, she spoke, perhaps prophetically, about the British industry's admirable support for creative young designers like herself.

'It's really important to have that support and it's a testament to the strength of London Fashion Week and the council's initiative to nurture talent and help designers build an established business,' Katrantzou says of her win.

Known for her loud prints and increasingly sculptural yet flattering designs, Katrantzou is an important emerging talent in the industry and the award is sure to further boost her profile.

James Long

That Long becomes the first designer of menswear to receive Fashion Forward fund sponsorship speaks volumes about how highly regarded he is by London's fashion set. Long has garnered a powerful fan base and critical acclaim, and says he looks forward to taking the brand to the next level.

He is known for his original use of textiles and form. Apart from in Britain, his designs are available in Japan, North America and Europe. He is also creative consultant for leather label Jitrois, and recently launched a womenswear line - an unusually bold move for such a young label.

Henry Holland

After a period of much exposure, helped no doubt by celebrity friends such as Agnes Dean and those 2006 cheeky Fashion Groupie slogan tees (saying things such as 'Harder Harder Miuccia Prada'),

Holland has battled to prove he's no flash in the pan. And it seems he has convinced those at the fashion fund that his label, House of Holland, has much more to offer.

'It is a huge accolade for the brand and I am excited about what the future holds,' Holland says.

Bright, cheeky, edgy and optimistic, the label by the London College of Printing alumni has been an established fixture on the London fashion circuit, winning several Scottish Fashion awards since his 2008 solo show debut.

As a result, House of Holland's quirky, urban London hipster look has landed him top international stockists such as Harvey Nichols, Colette, Selfridges, Browns, Opening Ceremony and Lane Crawford.

Louise Gray

Not as internationally known as Katrantzou and Holland, this win will elevate Gray's profile significantly. She has shown an eccentric and highly promising talent since being selected to show under Fashion East for three seasons just after her gaining her master's of arts degree.

The British Fashion Council's NewGen sponsorship has been helping to support her solo shows, which are characterised by a glorious mishmash of bold bright hues, textures and wild embellishments but also focusing on Gray's own hand-crafted fabrics.